Week 7 was another one of those strange weeks that left you saying “what the heck just happened!?” I mean, Justin Tucker missed an extra-point that could have brought the Baltimore/New Orleans game into overtime. Yeah, that pretty much sums this past week up. Your friendly, weekly reminder that Atlanta, the Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas and Tennessee are on bye this week, so get any players on those four teams out of your lineups. Let’s go ahead and jump into some quarterbacks and tight ends who have good and bad matchups for Week 8.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (vs. Tampa Bay)
Dalton could not get it going against Kansas City in Week 7, but that’s typical “prime time” Andy Dalton. I am optimistic this week, though, as he gets the best matchup for quarterbacks when Tampa Bay comes to Cincinnati. Look, Dalton and Co. will be out for blood and at home, so look for Dalton to bounce back in a big way in Week 8. I think what Baker Mayfield just put up on Tampa Bay (23/34, 215 yards, 2 TD with no turnovers) is the absolute baseline for what Dalton will do in Week 8. Don’t lose faith in the “Red Rifle” just yet.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (at Pittsburgh)
As I mentioned above, Mayfield showed just fine against Tampa Bay in Week 7. Now Cleveland will go into Pittsburgh to do battle, and Pittsburgh is the fourth-best matchup for opposing quarterbacks. Everyone knows that when Pittsburgh is at home, they can put up a ton of points. Mayfield looked excellent in the second half playing catchup in Week 7, and he will have to do it again against the high-octane Pittsburgh offense. I prefer Dalton by a wide margin for streamers in Week 8, but Mayfield is a good consolation prize.
Cam Newton, Carolina (vs. Baltimore)
Newton really came alive late in Week 7, as he led a comeback for the ages against Philadelphia. This will be a much tougher test, though, as Baltimore comes to town and Baltimore is the toughest matchup for quarterbacks. I sill think Newton is an OK start, but you may have a better option on your bench/waiver wire (ahem … Andy Dalton). You’ll be lucky if you get something similar to what Drew Brees produced against Baltimore in Week 7 (215 total yards, 2 TD). I still view Newton as a back-end QB1, though.
C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati (vs. Tampa Bay)
Uzomah is still widely available in many leagues, even though he continues to produce. Yes, he only had two targets (he caught both) for 13 measly yards, but one was for a touchdown. If a tight end gets a touchdown in a game, he will finish the week as a TE1. Now Uzomah gets the best matchup for opposing tight ends, and I can guarantee he will see more than two targets in this potential shootout. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a line similar to what David Njoku just had against Tampa Bay in Week 7 (52 yards and a touchdown).
Ben Watson, New Orleans (at Minnesota)
Some may be scared to start the veteran tight end, but he deserves your attention in Week 8. Drew Brees and Co. face Minnesota, who is the sixth-best matchup for opposing tight ends. Baltimore was a much tougher matchup in Week 7, and Watson responded with six receptions (on six targets, I’ll add) for 43 yards and a touchdown. For Heaven’s sake, Minnesota just gave up 42 yards and a touchdown to the New York Jets’ Chris Herndon in Week 7. Watson is much better than Herndon, and he needs to be on your radar for Week 8.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota (vs. New Orleans)
On the flip-side of that game, Rudolph could disappoint yet again. New Orleans has been especially stingy against tight ends on the season, as the team is the second-toughest matchup for opposing tight ends. Rudolph had four targets against the New York Jets in Week 7, and he turned that into one reception for 16 scoreless yards. I look for that trend to continue this week, as Kirk Cousins and Rudolph can’t seem to get the same page this year. Better yet, see if you can sell Rudolph on name value alone. It’s just not happening this year.
A Look Ahead to Week 9 …
For Week 9, Alex Smith gets the second-easiest matchup for quarterbacks when Atlanta visits Washington. I know, Smith has been a letdown, but this could be a get-right game. Joe Flacco could be of use in Week 9, as he gets a home date with Pittsburgh (fourth-best matchup for opposing quarterbacks). Flacco worked out fine in Week 7, totaling 283 yards and two touchdowns against the third-best matchup for quarterbacks (New Orleans). The best matchups for tight ends face each other in Week 9, so O.J. Howard, Greg Olsen, and (for deeper leagues) Cameron Brate could suffice in this spot. Side note: If Howard is available, pick him up, please and thank you.
Best of luck to you all in Week 8. This could be a tough one for a lot of folks out there, but you can still get through this week. You can utilize the Fantasy Sharks Strength of Schedule tool yourself to find good and bad matchups for any part of the upcoming season (and any other position). As always, don’t hesitate to ask me any and everything regarding fantasy football on Twitter (my Twitter handle can be found below). Until next time, Sharks!